Anyone who heard The National’s I Am Easy To Find will hear a familiar voice in Eve Owen, the 20-year-old British singer-songwriter who contributed to that record. She has just released her debut LP, Don’t Let The Ink Dry, produced by Aaron Dessner. It signals the start of what promises to be a bright future for this talented artist.
When the album kicks off with “Tudor”, it provides a perfect introduction to the songwriter. Owen’s voice soars over fingerpicked guitar as a rumbling of drums builds underneath. “Lover Not Today” features an electronic undercarriage that sets the scene for a heartwrenching break-up track. “Mother” is a gorgeous building song that starts simply with just a drum machine before transforming into grandeur with lush instrumentation.
The album slows down a bit when it gets to “After The Love” – it’s easy to find yourself blissfully lost in this middle section. The brooding mood of “After The Love” (and Owen’s vocal delivery on its final lines) is incredible. “For Redemption” and “Bluebird” are mostly just Owen’s vocals and guitar and minimal percussion. “She Says” is piano-heavy, with gorgeous vocals while “I Used to Dream in Color” features vivid lyrical imagery:
“Well I’m shimmering in gold
Shimmering in view
I used to dream in colors
Now I dream in blues”
Here the album pace picks up in grand fashion as Owen has her strongest vocal moments. It’s a phenomenal song, reminiscent of Neko Case in many ways, from its power to its composition and Owen’s ability to create a certain mood. “Blue Moon” is a heartfelt tale of unrequited love that features a slightly distorted guitar and the subtlest presence of strings as enhancement.
The finals two tracks solidify Don’t Let The Ink Dry as an album that will stick with listeners this year. “29 Daisy Sweetheart” is perhaps Owen at her most raw: it’s just her and a synthesizer, building in the darkness of loss while closer “A Lone Swan” is a beautiful finale.
Eve Owen has created something unique with Don’t Let The Ink Dry. Just as producer Aaron Dessner did with Sharon Van Etten on Tramp, here he has lent his expertise to a budding talent. His flawless production helped her create a debut that truly showcases her talents. The result is a spellbinding record that will stand out among the year’s best.
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